“It’s worth remembering that Joss Whedon had a huge hit with Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but he also had series that were not as successful like The Dollhouse, so just what makes a program iconic is incredibly hard to pin down,” Dr Turnbull points out.
“But when it happens, they definitely leave their mark”.
Here’s ten iconic shows that have changed the world and what they taught us on their way to the top.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Supernatural
On the surface these series are pure schlock-horror fun – Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is a teenage girl who discovers she is the latest in a long line of warriors destined to any supernatural evil that comes her way, Supernatural’s Winchester brothers (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelecki) share a similar mission but have much cooler car. But for all the sharp one-liners and action, the message was loud and clear with both series – sometimes even the cool kids have to take responsibility once in a while, and that won them millions of fans around the globe.
Watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer here.
Watch Supernatural here.
Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad
Turning the bad guys into heroes is no easy feat, but that’s what Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad managed to do. By showing us that even the villains, whether they’re bad boy bikers or ruthless drug dealers, have families, friends and reasons for what they do, these crime dramas forced viewers to question what makes someone “break bad”, how the good guys can get it wrong and sparked worldwide fan clubs. Family dramas at heart, Jax Teller (played by Charlie Hunnam) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) proved everyone has a story.
Watch Sons of Anarchy here.
Watch Breaking Bad here.
Grey’s Anatomy and Hart of Dixie
When Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) met Dr Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), the sparks flew. For Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson), that fire came when she met lawyer George Tucker (Scott Porter)… and for a thousand shows, bringing those lovers together would have been enough. But what made these series iconic was that like real life, true love never ran smooth. Grey’s McDreamy moved on and Hart’s heart had to cope with the fact George was already taken. And both taught us that losing love isn’t the same as losing hope.
Check out Grey’s Anatomy here.
Check out Hart of Dixie here.
Friends and How I Met Your Mother
Both were set in New York City, both followed a group of mates desperately avoiding the responsibilities of adult life and both series shared a message that instantly made them a hit – that families aren’t necessarily the people you’re related to. Told in an almost whodunnit mystery style, HIMYM kept us guessing about which of the changing group of friends would end up having kids together while Friends showed us the answer to that is the person right in front of you.
Watch Friends here.
Watch How I Met Your Mother here.
South Park and Family Guy
Cartoons are for kids, right? Wrong! It’s hard to think of two series that pushed the boundaries of what you can get away with more than these two animations. Family Guy mixed the fun of suburban life with some serious (and seriously funny) stories about everything from romance after kids to the dangers of creepy neighbours. And South Park? Where to start. From celebrities to world leaders, nobody was safe from this series – and it made it to icon status because of it!
Watch South Park here.
Watch Family Guy here.
Take a look through Stan’s unrivalled library for more iconic television series here.